Tee Shirts Feb 4

Trout Republic by Kevin Kirkpatrick

Did you know the first promotional T-shirt printed was for The Wizard of Oz movie way back in 1939? If you happen to have that shirt hiding out in the attic, you might think about packaging it up and sending it to Ol' Dutch since he was a long time Kansas resident and can use the millions that shirt would be worth.

Now, I do recall the tie-dyed shirt craze back in the 60s and 70s. Drawing No. 1 in the Vietnam War draft made me of age to witness the last of the Hippy Movement with its anti-war themes, political statements, happy faces and other even more outlandish themes, bad language and rebellious words.

Message shirts served as an external tattoo for people who wanted to make a statement and as such, could be worn then discarded as their mood changed. This unlike a real tattoo that linked you to some woman named “Darla” or “Jenny” that you met on a wild weekend at some distant port of call and splashed in bold colors across your arm or chest for all eternity to see.

Back then, expressive t-shirts were the garments of the youth. Adults knew that someday those kids would grow out of it and become normal men and women wearing button down collars, dockers and loafers.

Boy, that conventional wisdom was wrong. Those young people grew up but they didn’t change a whole lot. The messages of yesteryear on a 75 year old body are a little shocking to say the least. Trixie and I travel full time and being in the RV parks around the country we are surrounded by people who have long retired and living the “good life.”

The other night at Bingo there was a constant parade of otherwise church going Bible thumping Baptists passing by our table on the way in dressed in an array of t-shirts. There was everything from soup to nuts printed on their shirts with the usual “South Padre Island” messages that they got for $3.99 on sale which I totally understand. We are frugal if nothing else when traveling and a deal is a deal, right?

But some deals are best left undone when you start seeing 75 year old great-grandmothers with a shirt that says “These Are Real” plastered across her chest. I could tell she wasn't referencing her teeth even though they were row perfect and any more thought on the subject by Ol' Dutch was quickly filed in the pile of forgetfulness.

Ol' Dutch ain't no prude but just maybe these folks need to put a little thought into buying “I Skinny Dipped in Texas,” “I Lobster Then I Flounder,” “Good Girls Do Bad Things” and the inevitable and overuse of the “F” word.

Why these people have a need for expressing things that most of us would rather not know or see on our elders is beyond me. At the local movie theater later in the week, my eyes were drawn to a gorgeous older lady with impeccable hair and makeup, perfect teeth, rebuilt body, and a diamond ring on every finger. Ol' Dutch was totally mesmerized by her beauty and demeanor until she turned and smiled at me. There for all the world to see on her shirt was a huge logo with the words “Black Widow” printed in neon green.

We all know that spider eats her mate after successful copulation and I could now see where all of her trinkets, add-ons and plastic came from: past mates. Run Dutch, run.

Thankfully Trixie was there to keep me safe as age cannot compete with youth and Trixie knows she has me like a rat in a trap. Plus Ol' Dutch is not one to add another diamond to that spiders hand anytime soon. 

He may be turned by a beautiful look but Ol' Dutch is tight as bark on a tree to which Trixie just added, “Amen.”


Kevin Kirkpatrick and his Yorkie, Cooper, fish, hunt, ATV or hike daily. His email is Kevin@TroutRepublic.com. And his blog is www.troutrepublic.com.